One of the producers behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe has weigh in on how the MCU will continue, following the conclusion of Phase 3. Thus far, the shared movie/TV show universe that is the MCU encompasses 15 films released over a nine year period, with several more movies (not to mention TV series) on the way over the next two years alone.
As we approach the release of Avengers: Infinity War and the untitled fourth Avengers film in 2018 and 2019, respectively, fans are beginning to speculate more and more about what will come after that. Those next two Avengers movies will close out Phase 3 of the MCU and bring the Infinity Gauntlet storyline to a close.
In an interview with Complex, MCU executive producer Nate Moore revealed how Marvel is approaching its expanding universe going forward:
So we’re finishing up what we call Phase 3, which will sort of end with the fourth Avengers film in 2019. And then I think for us, we continue that conversation of, what’s next? Who will be the new heroes who can tell great new stories and bring us to new worlds that we haven’t even had a chance to visit yet, while still expanding on the slate of heroes we have and finding the next step for characters people have come to love? We’re looking for the next best story. And then we let the story tell us what we should be making as part of that one united narrative in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Marvel Studios has decades of material to mine from the world of Marvel Comics. It seems that if anything they have a problem of too many choices for the next phase of the MCU. Moore seems to indicate that it is the characters who seem to dictate a lot of how the story which will almost certainly be played by some iconic actors:
It’s all driven by storytelling and that tends to mean you get to intersect characters in a fun way. Black Widow’s an interesting example. She was introduced in Iron Man 2, then she was in The Avengers, and the next time you see her is Captain America: Winter Soldier, so it’s almost impartial and more ends up being, where is her story best served? Having that kind of flexibility with the characters is fun because then it’s not about having to bring everyone back because contractually it needs to happen. Instead it’s saying, wouldn’t it be cool if this story collided with that story and gave us this whole new angle?
Moore's remarks mirror that of President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige. He had previously teased that the next Phase of the MCU may actually consist of some smaller films with unexpected team-ups. The next two Marvel films premiering this year, Thor: Ragnarok and Spider-Man: Homecoming, feature team-ups between Thor/Hulk and Spider-Man/Iron Man, respectively, so that alone may foreshadow what's to come in the MCU, after Phase 3. At the end of the day, Moore says that giving fans what they want in surprising ways is what the studio is really after:
At Marvel, the fans are at the forefront of our minds when we talk about development. What does our audience want and how do we give it to them in a way that’s unexpected? What do they want to see? What can we show them that they don’t know they want to see, but that we think they’ll really respond to? And a big part of that is plunging into new worlds with characters that offer a different flavor than what people are used to. Those are the stories that we want to explore.
Avengers 4 will bring a closure to the previous three phases of the MCU, but note that Moore avoids calling the next chapter Phase 4. Feige has previously stated that there may not even be a Phase 4 and what comes next may be something entirely new. How that will play out is anyone's guess.
Marvel Studios kicked off a universe based in science and on Earth with Iron Man, but has steadily expanded it into the cosmos with Guardians of the Galaxy and into the magical realm with Doctor Strange. The MCU has only just really scratched the surface of those corners, so you can expect them to dig deeper into them in the next few years.
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